Saffron is the most expensive spice on the planet, averaging $20 per gram at stores. Some distributors are more expensive than others. We purchase ours from Spain, which costs us about $70 per ounce (28 grams) wholesale. It’s so expensive because the three red delicate stigmas of the crocus plant are handpicked. It takes 100,000 flowers to make about one pound of saffron spice. That’s a lot of sore backs. Here at Cibo, and our sister restaurant Corfinio, we let the saffron flower bloom in white wine to extract it’s flavor, making a lovely saffron white wine broth which adds a soft red color and floral, sweet, earthy flavor to our specials such as Cozze Allo Zafferano with steamed mussels, peppers, onion and tomatoes, saffron white wine broth, basil drizzle and grilled ciabatta. We use it in other specials such as saffron risotto, bouillabaisse and paella. We post our specials every night on Facebook so check for these wonderful saffron dishes. You might get lucky.
If you want to give it a try in your kitchen, we suggest this simple recipe. Saute onions, peppers, and fresh garlic together. Add crushed or diced tomatoes with the juice. Then add sherry or white wine, a few threads of saffron, and give it a lazy bubble for 30 minutes or so. Add to your favorite fish, and serve with rice, risotto, or roasted potatoes. Simple enough.